A: He was doing great. We were running the ball. Again, it was about as good a performance as you’re ever going to get; you just wish you had more points to show for it. I was very pleased with the way we were running the ball.
Q: It looked like
A: It’s just a matter of how the game was played out. He wasn’t in that much so he didn’t get a lot of chances to run it or pass-protect. Again, the other guy was doing very well.
Q: How much does the Saints defense remind you of when Steve Spagnuolo was here?
A: Nothing like the last few years, but exactly like what we saw when we went against Philadelphia. It’s Jim Johnson’s defense. Steve was there with him, learned right there. It’s an outstanding concept. He’s got a great command of it. As always, everybody kind of goes off in their own direction and tweaks it a little bit. Same difficulty to contend with defensively because it’s well designed and well thought out. They’re about 50-50 pressure/dropping back to two-high. It’s a well thought out, well conceived approach to defensive football.
Q: Is it surprising how many yards you’ve been obtaining compared to the number of points you’re scoring recently?
A: It’s where you start, the percentages when you start the drive at 90 yards…What’d we have? Nine, nine, and eight-yard line and 12-yard line, and 15-yard line. You have to be just about perfect to put it in; the percentages…That’s why there’s defenses and a lot of defensive coaches in the league that premise their defense on that strategy: you can’t drive without making a mistake. When you make the penalties that we had…When you’re driving it…We had the ball four times in the first half and you score a field goal, miss a field goal, touchdown, and drove it in about 40 seconds about 60 yards to kick a field goal. They did a great job. Second half, you start on the nine, eight and 20. You drove it a little bit; eight-play drive, seven-play drive, but on third and three, you didn’t convert. The one third and four from the 20 is the one that killed us. That was the only three and out the whole game. Then you have the first down on the other one…the holding call negated that one. You only had the ball four times in the second half.
A: That’s a great question. You call what you’d like to call and scheme-wise and then decide who can play that role and try to determine if the things that you’d like to do, if Hakeem was healthy, that you would’ve done; would you continue to do it? Hakeem hasn’t been healthy all year so that’s been part of our thinking all year long. It’s just a matter of making the adjustments and adapting with what we have and I think we’ve done a good job. That’s about as good as a performance as you’ll have. You just need to have more production point-wise for what we did last Monday night.
Q: Where have the Saints improved defensively in the recent weeks?
A: I think they’ve been playing hard. The games that we see, which are the more recent games, it’s hard for me to compare to what they were doing before; just statistically. They’re playing hard. Again, as I said, it’s the old Philadelphia, Jim Johnson defensive scheme, which is a great scheme. It’s one you have to be right on your toes to see where the pressure is coming from and then they’ll play just enough man or two-high that if you keep everybody in to protect against the blitz, you’re sitting there with seven guys blocking and they have eight guys dropping defensively. It’s a good scheme. There’s a reason why it’s valued how it is.
Q: How many times would you guess you’ve faced a defense like this in your career?
A: Twice a year, I’m thinking 15 years. Probably about 30, 32 times. I went against that (defense) when I was with other teams before I even came here. It’s been a lot, but it doesn’t make it any easier. They do a great job at disguising, that’s what it is. If it was, “Ok, they’re here,” you’d have the answer, but they do a nice job so it really falls on the quarterback’s shoulders to be able to see and discern, “Ok, they’re giving me the look here, but really the pressure is coming from the other side and I make the calls that get the thing blocked up.”